Jury selection will begin next week in Riverhead Police beating case

10/24/2011 2:00 PM |

SURVEILLANCE PHOTO | A surveillance video published on Newsday.com last month depicts the alleged beating of a drug suspect by a Riverhead police officer.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin next Monday in the civil case involving Riverhead Town Police officer Peter Troyan, who is being accused of beating a handcuffed drug suspect in the front hallway of the police headquarters and Justice Court building in February 2007.

The trial is set to begin Nov. 7 in federal court in Central Islip.

Officer Troyan — who was never criminally charged in the case — is facing a $500,000 federal civil rights lawsuit for allegedly attacking William Robinson after Mr. Robinson was arrested on a drug charge and for driving with a revoked license and arraigned in Justice Court, according to federal court records.

“I hope that the jury sees that Mr. Troyan’s actions on Feb. 7, 2007 against my client was an assault and will give him compensatory and punitive damages for his actions,” Mr. Robinson’s New Jersey-based attorney Brian Dratch told the News-Review Monday.

Mr. Robinson, 42, was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for lacerations on his face and lower back, bleeding under the skin and nerve damage to his left arm, according to the complaint.

Mr. Robinson, who is currently serving a six year sentence at Riverview Correctional Facility upstate for criminal sale of a controlled substance and promoting prison contraband, will be transferred before Sunday to the Suffolk County jail in Riverside, where he will stay during the trial. He is eligible for release from prison in June 2012.

Mr. Robinson has made a settlement demand, according to a letter filed on his behalf Oct. 4, though that demand has not been answered by the defendant and the amount of the settlement has not been disclosed in public documents.

Scott Middleton of Bohemia, who is representing Mr. Troyan at the town’s expense, has said he expects a favorable outcome for his client.

“At the time of the trial, the jury will hear in detail all of the events that surrounded what was captured by the cameras,” Mr. Middleton said last month, referring to a surveillance video released by Mr. Dratch. “The jury will be provided with all of the facts, just as the grand jury was when they heard the evidence, which resulted in no indictment and my client was cleared of any wrongdoing at that time.”

Town officials have declined to comment on the case.

vchinese@timesreview.com